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Ours to save when they would perish
Whom the world would never know
Thus our Order blest, hath spoken
Ours re Friendship, Truth and Love;
Ours to point to joys above!
The Grand Master of Ceremonies then introduced to the assemblage, A. S. Hurlbut, P. G. of South Carolina, representative of that State to the Grand Lodge of the United States, who delivered the following
ADDRESS. This day has already been filled with exercises of praise and congratulation; and we now stand before the doors of this edifice which our brethren have raised for the holy purposes of Odd-Fellowship.
From ages beyond the reach of history, and only dim seen by the imperfect and flickering light of tradition, has it been the custom to distinguish occasions like this by public procession and festival.
The Egyptian, eldest of civilized man, led up the slow and solemn pomp to the doors of Isis—music breathed harmony through the air loaded with perfume and incense-monarch and priest lent the splendor of the crown and of the sacred mysteries to the vast display—while the people in multitudinous array swelled and heaved around like the restless bosom of the
So too did the Greek, whose mind was full of all high conceptions and lofty ideas, bend all his powers to adorn and deck the festival which proclaimed at once his splendor and his taste.
Imperial Rome throned upon her hills, with eagle eye scanning her subject empires, fed high the popular pride with the strange magnificence of her triumphs.
But to us this day belongs a higher and a nobler duty. No longer does the world gaze upon trophies won by lavish expenditure of blood, no more are our calmer judgments stolen away by the lofty pomp of war, no more do those spirit-stirring strains awaken within us the strong pulses of the soldier “to win the bubble reputation at the cannon's mouth.”
A strain of seraphic music floats around our march this day, caught by the human soul from that glad hour, when its Maker pronounced this fair world "good"—when the “morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”
That sweet music has sounded o'er all earth at greater or lesser intervals—sometimes stunned into silence in the din and clang of laborious life; then again swelling into full harmony wherever the impulses of the heart found space and room to act. Highest and clearest of all has it pealed its triumphant notes around associations devoted to Benevolence and Charity, and not least among these upon the institution to which we belong.
It is the voice of universal love, the grand choral hymn of the Universe in which man the first of its inhabitants centres in himself the melody of all.
Peculiarly should we feel the force of these sentiments when we stand as now at the portals of this building this day consecrated to F. L. & T. A great work has been accomplished, a noble object has been attained.Our brethren of Maryland have written in enduring materials of a noble and shapely form their devotion to the principles of the Order. Before us is the monument of their labors; not like the pyramids and temples of the elder world, mere piles of stone to bury a dead tyrant or adore an idolbut destined to receive thousands of those living shrines, on which forever burns the holy flame of Charity. The scattered sparks of that primal fire lie hid in every heart. Our grateful task is to gather into one these brands—to breathe upon them the breath of a strong and determined will
- to tend with careful hands the sacred pile, until the gleaming light springs gladly up towards the Heaven from which it came, making bright and happy the care-worn faces and cold hearths of the poor
and the desolate.
The Priestesses of Vesta in the times of the Pagan Mythology were bound to keep alive upon the shrine of the Goddess the “Holy fire." It was drawn from the sun and constant watch was kept to preserve it until the next recurring anniversary, and its extinguishment was a portent ominous of evil. Our duties are akin to this. To us too has been committed the guardianship of the holy fire of Charity. We are her priests, bound to her service by the most solemn obligations. Let us stand ever prompt and watchful around this sacred charge. See to it-brethren, that we keep it pure as we received it, and transmit it increased in volume and in power to those who come after us. And should ever so tremendous a prodigy occur as the extinguishment in this Order of Benevolence and Love—then will the rushing of inevitable ruin sound fearfully among our vacant halls, and the downfall of this institution be accomplished. Like the buried cities of Italy the splendid remnants disentombed in after time will betoken at once the greatness of our ancient state and the whirlwind of scorn beneath which we had been buried.
But why should fancy dwell upon an impossible future. There is that in our constitution which defies decay and storm. Not the pyramids themselves whose massive brows bear up the weight of forty centuries, not the highest work of man in his conquest over the material world contains so large a portion of the indestructible. It bears within itself something of the immortal—for it is founded upon Truth. The need of sympathy-Friendship that delights to labor for another; Charity encompassed by every guard against deception—argus-eyed to discover fraud, but equally keen of vision to detect uncomplaining misfortune—these are principles that twine among the inmost fibres of the human heart, and from these springs up aloft into the serene air the magnificent fabric of our beloved Order.
And here is the point to which converge all the portions of the OrderCentral in her situation, devoted to the principles we profess, Baltimore stands the Head Quarters of our institution. It was in this fruitful soil that the good seed was first cast. The venerable men who planted the acorn and tended its growth with assiduous care, now behold its unexampled spread. Its branches overshadow the whole country and beneath their grateful canopy the wayfarer may sink to a calm repose. In all quarters of the Union the spirit of Odd-Fellowship has found its home and its progress is still onward. The cry is still they come !—they come!
The few voices that some twenty years since lifted up the hymn of our ceremonies are answered now by the ocean peal of thousands. The atlantic speaks forth, and its voice is answered from beyond the Alleghanies.The granite hills of Maine clasp hands with the fair plains of the sunny South. Echo is startled among the prairies of Texas by the chorus of the Odd-Fellow, and the Great Lakes see upon their shores his Lodge where short while since was the Wigwam of the savage. Whence this unexampled progress, whence but from the fact that the want of a general organized system was deeply felt and that Odd-Fellowship supplied the deficiency.
I may be pardoned for glancing at the history of the Order in my own State. It is now nearly three years since I first heard of the instititution; it was obscure and reached me by accident. What I had heard impressed me favorably and I was also moved by curiosity. I joined—there were about 30 members—meeting in a very hap-hazard style, ill provided with equipage, regalia and funds. Now the State of South Carolina has her Grand Lodge—a Grand Encampment, eight subordinate Lodges with 1100 members and three Encampments. Of whose merits I will not trust myself to speak—but bid you come and see, and pledge you an Odd Fellow's welcome. Nor is this an uncommon picture; the country is full of changes more magical still.
Let us only then know our duty and do our duty and no more graceful spectacle can be seen than will be presented by the Order. Equality is the basis of the system. The highest in position is still amenable to the lowest. The head of the Order is at the same time but a brother of his Lodge—and on the common platform of rights distinctly secured, we meet face to face, brother-like and man-like. The unfortunate receive from a common stock to which they have all contributed. Should the hand of death strike down one of our number we commit him to the tomb and in the presence of our dead brother and of Him who is no respecter of persons we are forced to remember that here all distinctions cease. Nor does our zeal stop here, it is a beautiful provision that the children of the departed are furnished by us with the means of intellectual and moral culture. We who would save the body from want-lend our aid to feed the soul, to plume the wings of the spirit that it may soar again heavenward.
And now on this auspicious day we are met to dedicate this building to the
purposes I have shadowed dimly forth. A solemn joy, borne up by buoyant hope and the strong pinions of undoubting faith, thrills through every heart. We look back with an honest pride upon the achievements of the past, and a just hope overleaps the barriers of time, and brings forward a series of years to come whose transcendent glory shall dim that proud past into a shadow. Even now methinks I can see the thousands that are to come after us. From regions yet clothed in solemn forest comes the voice of the Order close upon the sound of the Pioneer's axe.The vast column of living beings that are now steadily down and beyond the Mississippi, like the father of rivers himself a current that knows no ebb—bears in its heaving bosom the seeds of F. L. & T. Aye as the Heavens of a still clear midnight are studded and brilliant with unnumbered stars, each wheeling in the infinite space obedient to peculiar laws ; some suns the centres of inferior bodies, others but planets of systems beyond our ken but all revolving in exquisite harmony and unchanging beauty around the great central point of this visible universe, each attracting the other and each checking the slightest aberration-so I fervently trust will be the future destiny of the Order.
The solemn ceremonies of this day have dedicated this building with an imposing pomp to the principles we profess. Descend! then oh descend! fair Friendship—thou of the ready hand and sympathizing heart-come borne upon the breath of grateful voices and rest thee within our walls.And thou oh Love—eldest born of those feelings "which make man but little lower than the angels”—thou at whose voice the sob of sorrow subsides and the breath of whose heaven-tinted wings dries all our tears away; thou who delightest to labor for others—to spend the long night in weary vigil by the sick bed; to soothe the affliction of the widow and to lead the orphan by the hand—thou! in whose presence the whole earth and sky are glad—and whose chosen home is the gentle and loving heart-enter within these doors and fill with thy spirit all those who come therein.And thou! oh stately and majestic Truth! clothed in thy panoply impenetrable and armed with gleaming sword drawn from the arsenals of Heaven, -simple, calm, severe in thy unchanging and seraphic beauty, with eye undazzled by gaudy splendor, keen to penetrate the shallow disguises of men-ready as well to aid the weak when right as to crush the strong man in his error—this hall is dedicated to thy service. Inspire us with thy unfailing energy to endure and to act—until all weakness and duplicity shall perish, and we stand forth impregnable to every device of fraud.
Brothers—I welcome you one and all to this solemn ceremonial. 'Let the events of this day make a deep impression on each of our hearts.Each stroke of the hammer in the erection of this building was a declaration of a new principle. It was the note of warning for the downfall of that wretched system which makes the pauper in order to relieve him.No cold official bestowal of alms, meets the wants and wishes of an honest poor man. His independent heart is too rugged and too stubborn to begand even breaks in uncomplaining silence rather than receive a cold and niggard charity. And this honest pride we cherish and support—we have a right to the aid of the Lodge and do not ask a favor when we claim our own, and it is from this proper feeling and the efficient aid supplied by our institution that results the cheering fact that no Odd-Fellow has ever been aided by the public funds.
Upon such principles as these has the wisdom of our predecessors founded our beloved Order-remembering what the poet sung
To build a Temple, more we need than toil
Its towers must rise on trusting aspiration. Long may this Temple of our Order rise eminent to Heaven-dome, pinnacle and tower glowing in the early blush of morn, or serene in the hush of evening twilight, or calmly reflecting to the midnight sky the glances of love that descend from the blue arch above. Her courts within filled with members expert in her mysteries and her outer doors vocal with the call of the candidate. Let the melody of music float along her retired halls and startle the passer by with a sweet surprise. Let her members as they increase, but emulate, for they cannot excel, the spirit of those
who completed this great work and the most ardent wishes of the dearest lover of the Order will be accomplished.
The choir followed in the anthem, “Praise God from whom all blesse ings flow,” which was sung in a manner that reflected great credit on the musical talents of the singers.
An eloquent and fervent benediction was then asked by the Rev. Bro. Williamson, of New York, and prayer offered up for a parting blessing, during the delivery of which the vast assemblage remained uncovered, when the ceremonies of the day were closed.
The brethren from a distance were then invited to call on the Grand Master for their tickets to admit them to a collation to be given at Beam's hotel, which we learn was largely attended. Good fellowship as well as Odd-Fellowship presided over the ceremonies of the evening, the attractions of which, notwithstanding the fatigues of the day, prevented the party from separating until quite a late hour.
A concert of instrumental and vocal music took place at the hall during the evening, and terminated the proceedings of the day; the windows of the hall were splendidly illuminated during the time, and the novel and beautiful effect of their appearance caused the assemblage of a large crowd of spectators in the vicinity, many of whom remained until the lights were extinguished.
DESCRIPTION OF THE HALL.
We have received from Mr. William Q. Caldwell, the architect, the following concise description of the whole structure:
The Building. The new hall on Gay street is fifty-two feet three inches front, and eighty feet deep, and is built of brick, with the exception of the basement story, which is of granite to the height of nine feet. The front is in the Gothic style, the principal feature of which consists in four octagonal towers; two large ones in the angles, of four feet eight inches, to the height of nine feet, at which height there are offsetts of four inches, reducing them to four feet. They continue this size fifty-nine feet nine inches, at which height two courses of brick project one and one-fourth inches; at the height of one foot ten inches from this height they are reduced by receding steps to the size of two feet six inches, which is the same size as the centre towers, and are carried up this size seven feet two inches, where they are again enlarged by projecting courses and carried up one foot six inches, forming heads to the towers which are capped with solid embattled granite caps of nine inches height: making the entire height of the towers seventy-five feet. The large towers have in the front of them three oylet windows, in stories of six inches wide and six feet high. Those in the north tower serve to light the private stairway through corresponding windows on the inside of the towers. The tower on the south contains an iron pipe, through which the water from the front side of the roof is discharged into the large pipe, which conveys the water from the yard and back buildings, and thence into the street. The centre towers are three feet two inches, to the height of nine feet; they then diminish to two feet six inches, and are carried sixty-three feet two inches, where they are enlarged and finished with heads crowned with granite battlements corresponding with those on the angles. These towers at the height of thirty-two feet, are interrupted by a string course of eight inches